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Posts for: April, 2016

By Dentistry by Design
April 24, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

As a member of the best-selling pop group Spice Girls, Mel C (AKA Sporty Spice) enjoyed her share of musical superstardom. At the band’s peak in the Nineties, the young singer’s signature look featured baggy sweatpants, an assortment of tattoos, a nose stud and a gold-capped incisor, front and center in her mouth. Today, Melanie Chisholm is still singing — but now she’s a mom, an amateur triathlete… and that gold tooth is just a memory. Not only that, her smile looks more evenly spaced and whiter than it did when she was referred to as the “tomboy” of the group.

What happened? In our view, it all boils down to changing tastes — plus a little bit of help from dental professionals. As the “wannabe” singer proves, there’s no single standard when it comes to making your teeth look their best. Your own look is unique to you — and your smile can reflect that individuality.

For example, crowns (caps) are substantial coverings that may be placed on teeth when they are being restored. They are available in three types: gold, all-porcelain, or porcelain-fused-to-metal. The latter two are tooth-colored, while the gold is — well, shiny like gold bling. Which one is right for you? In many cases, it’s your choice.

Likewise, dental veneers — wafer-thin shells that can correct cosmetic issues by covering the surface of your teeth — can be made in a variety of shades. Their hues may range from natural ivory to Hollywood white, and everything in between. What’s the best color for you? Only you can say.

Some people opt for a “smile makeover” that uses small irregularities in the spacing and color of teeth to create a more “natural” look. Other folks want a perfectly even, brilliant white smile that dazzles the eye. Still others are looking to match or restore the smile they once had — perhaps even re-creating a signature gap between the teeth. As long as there are no other dental issues involved, the choice is yours.

So if you’re unhappy with your smile — or if you feel it doesn’t reflect the person you “wannabe” — why not talk to us about a smile makeover? Just call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”


Waiting is part of life for a teenager: waiting to get a driver’s license, to graduate high school or to leave home and stretch their wings. A teenager with lost teeth may also need to wait until they’re older to obtain dental implants.

The reason arises from the differences in how implants and natural teeth attach to the jaw. Although natural teeth may seem rigidly set in the bone, they’re actually held in place by an elastic tissue between them and the bone known as the periodontal ligament. Tiny filaments that attach to the teeth on one side and the bone on the other hold the teeth in place, but also allow the teeth to move gradually in response to mouth changes.

A titanium implant post doesn’t have this relationship with the periodontal ligament — it’s attached directly to the jaw bone. Over time the bone, which has a special affinity with titanium, grows and adheres to it to form a durable bond without an attachment to the periodontal ligament. Because of this the implant can’t move like a natural tooth.

This is extremely important for implant placement because the jaws in particular won’t fully develop in most people until their late teens or early twenties: the upper jaw in particular will tend to grow out and down. Natural teeth accommodate to these changes, but the implant can’t — it will appear to retreat into the jaw. The gum tissues surrounding the implant also won’t conform to the continuing growth and may appear receded.

The best approach is to choose a temporary replacement option until the jaws and other facial bone structures have finished growing. One example is a bonded bridge in which we use a bonding agent to attach a bridge of artificial teeth to teeth on either side of a missing tooth — bonding won’t permanently alter them as with a traditional bridge. Once the jaws have finished growing, we can remove the bonded bridge and install the more permanent implant.

Ask any teenager: waiting can be hard. But with dental implants, waiting until the right time will help ensure the attractive result is a permanent one.

If you would like more information on dental restorations and teenagers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Teenagers & Dental Implants.”

By Dentistry by Design
April 01, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

One of the most popular dental procedures, a root canal comes with many misconceptions and misunderstandings. Many people think root canalroot canals are painful, time-consuming or even a bad option. However, root canal therapy saves a tooth from extraction and the side effects which come with it. Learn more about root canals with help from your Andover, MA dentist at Dentistry By Design.

What makes a root canal necessary? 
Tooth decay begins on the tooth’s outer enamel layer. The decay eats through the tooth, eventually reaching the inner pulp chamber which houses the tooth’s nerve and blood vessels. It is when the decay reaches this point that a toothache occurs. This makes tooth pain one of the main indicators that a root canal is necessary. Sensitivity to hot and cold, headache and abscess also indicate an infected tooth.

How does a root canal work? 
A root canal removes the tooth’s infected pulp and nerve. After your Andover dentist numbs the area ensuring you feel no pain or discomfort, he or she makes a small hole in the top of the tooth. Through the hole, the tooth’s inner pulp and nerve are accessed and removed. The inside of the tooth is scrubbed clean and disinfected with special instruments. After removing all of the infected tissue, your dentist fills the tooth from the bottom of the root canals up using composite materials. In most cases, a dental crown placed over the tooth protects and strengthens it. Your dentist places a temporary crown to protect the tooth during the several weeks it takes the dental laboratory to fabricate the permanent crown.

The Benefits of a Root Canal
While dental restorations like dental implants can replace missing teeth, they will never be as strong as a natural tooth. For this reason, your dentist’s number one concern during treatment is to save your tooth. Saving the natural tooth also eliminates the effects of a missing tooth such as teeth moving around the gap to compensate for the missing tooth. Additionally, it prevents bone atrophy, which causes sagging facial muscles and even premature aging.

For more information on how a root canal can save your smile, please contact Dr. Nicholas T. Papapetros, Dr. Jhon O. Giraldo and Dr. Leo Kharin at Dentistry By Design in Andover, MA. Call (978) 475-5333 to speak with an associate about your appointment today!